Road cycling (sometimes called “cyclo”), is a sport that consists of riding along paved roads, which may or not be reserved for bicycles. It comes in many forms: gentle outings for families, solo rides and competitions.
In its gentler forms : such as bicycle touring, it allows you to discover the natural and cultural heritage of the areas you pass through in a relaxed and pleasurable way.
In its competition form : which has existed for many years, cyclists are the warriors of the road, covering more miles than anyone else. In the mountains, they understand how to climb for extended periods and pace themselves.
Whatever form of cycling you prefer, you can climb mountains and reach natural wonders in Méribel !
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It is important to choose the right equipment. With the right bike, you can choose to ride the cycle paths or tackle the mountain passes. Choose a road bike suited to your build and ability, wear a helmet for safety, opting for one that is light and aerodynamic and won’t hinder you on the ascents or descents. Wear shoes adapted to your bike (with foot clips) that will help your stability.
We do not forget : to take a windbreaker and a fleece because mountain weather can change quickly, especially at altitude. Sunglasses and sunscreen are also a must !
You can find all the necessary equipment from our Méribel partners.
A "MIDDLE EARTH" WITH ADVANTAGES
Les 3 Vallées is an ideal centre for road biking, perfect for experienced cyclists in training as well as those starting out in the sport. Méribel is a great starting point for many legendary passes such as the Col de la Madelaine, or le Petit Saint Bernard which leads into to Italy.e.
This year, Méribel is opening Col de la Loze cycle path, the beginning of a unique project which will connect all of les 3 Vallées by a cycle path crossing several mountain passes. The new Col de la Loze path will host various events this summer, such as the 3 Vallées Cyclo Tour, the Tour de l’Avenir or even the MéribeLoze.
Jean-Marc DEBADTS, RESIDENT IN MÉRIBEL
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE ROAD CYCYLING ?
Cycling is a means of locomotion which is open to everybody. It’s also a means of escape, in whatever form you choose to do it. Personally, I prefer cyclo – the sporting variety of road cycling. This sort of cycling requires more than just pedalling, it involves a whole set of techniques and a learning process that you then must then put into practice. But there are those who prefer a gentler version of bicycle touring; there is really something for everyone.
Another variety attracting more and more cyclists is Gravel biking. It is an unusual bike to look at: it appears like a road bike but, if you take a closer look, it has wider tires and a reinforced frame which can be steel, aluminium or carbon. Its big advantage is it’s designed for both roads and tracks.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN CYLING ?
When I was young, I used my bike as a means of transport to get to work as I didn’t have any other choice. But when I was around twenty-five years old, I began to cycle for enjoyment for a few summers, and very quickly I took a liking to cyclo, going on my own or with a group. In 2010, I went to cycle in the Dolomites in Italy. It was during this trip that I really learned what cyclo is about. It’s very pleasurable to climb legendary mountain passes in magnificent surroundings, descend at high speeds, negotiating each turn, working out the best line, and cycling along valley floors to reach the foot of a pass. But there is no reason why you can’t do exactly the same thing in a slower, tourist version – they are all different ways of enjoying yourself.
What drives me to continue is the desire to discover new routes, new passes to climb, other descents to conquer, new beautiful landscapes to admire, and to share all these pleasurable moments with my friends.
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE MÉRIBEL AS A CENTRE FOR THIS ACTIVITY ?
I live in the beautiful Méribel valley whose access road has the same gradient as a mountain road. It’s an ideal training ground, with a good climb, a long ascent with several choices of route. For example, you can start in Moûtiers at 400m and arrive in Méribel at 1,400m or Mottaret at 1,750m. The Moûtiers to Méribel Altiport route is another good option..
Currently, there is a project to connect the Trois Vallées area with a cycle path. This is a great initiative that will hopefully come to fruition, especially as the first section takes the 4x4 track that is used to maintain the ski lifts. So there are no unsightly extra roads to cut into the mountain, just a new surface to lay on top.
The Courchevel Col de la Loze section was inaugurated on May 12th this year with a timed climb and the Méribel Col de la Loze section will open this summer. It is a beautiful pass that I know very well having climbed it several times, both on touring skis and snowshoes in winter, plus downhill skiing and mountain biking in summer. When you arrive at the pass you have a breath-taking view of the Grand Bec, the Grande Casse and Bellecôte mountains, among others. The pass is over 2,000m above sea level. I’m looking forward to climbing it and doing the circuit from Méribel via Col de la Loze to Courchevel and returning via la Tania, or even Brides. I’m not the only cyclist impatient to climb this new pass; when I speak to others about it, I find lots of people are waiting for the opening.